Clerics meet with officials after police-involved shooting in New Haven

NEW HAVEN (AP) — Connecticut religious leaders met with government officials Friday to try to ease concerns after a shooting that involved police, wounded a woman and led to protests.

Local clerics met with Hamden Mayor Curt Leng and police officials, three days after a Hamden officer and a Yale University officer opened fire on a car in New Haven early Tuesday while investigating an attempted armed robbery reported in Hamden. A 22-year-old woman in the car, Stephanie Washington, was treated for injuries not considered life threatening, police said.

Several protests were held this week in New Haven and Hamden, including one Thursday night that drew several hundred people and prompted police to close several streets in New Haven. No violence or arrests were reported.

Demonstrators included Black Lives Matter activists and Yale University students upset at the actions of the officers. Both officers are black, as are the woman who was wounded and the car's driver.

The Rev. Boise Kimber, senior pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church, said Friday that Hamden police agreed to implement urban trauma and de-escalation training for officers, as well as notify New Haven police when Hamden officers cross the city line.

"It was devastating to this community to see this kind of action and gunshots," Kimber said. "I know this community is traumatized and the two individuals in the car are traumatized."

Authorities said Hamden officer Devin Eaton was investigating the attempted armed robbery of a newspaper delivery carrier at a Hamden gas station shortly before 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Yale officer Terrance Pollack responded to a call to assist Eaton.

Police officials said the two officers stopped a car that matched the description of the vehicle reported to have been involved in the attempted robbery. Authorities said both officers opened fire when the car's driver, Paul Witherspoon III, 21, abruptly got out of the vehicle.

Witherspoon's girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, a passenger in the car, was shot and taken to Yale New Haven Hospital, where police said she remained in stable condition Friday.

Witherspoon was taken to the Hamden police department and later released. No charges have been filed.

A state police spokesman said this week that no weapons were found in the car. State police said Friday that they applied for a search warrant for the car but had no additional information on the warrant.

Surveillance video shows one of the officers shooting several times at the car.

Witherspoon, who was not injured, told WTNH-TV he has seen a lot of videos of police-involved shootings and thought he was going to be killed.

"He was just ready to shoot," he said of one of the officers. "My girlfriend was yelling like, 'They shot me. They shot me. They shot me.' I just never thought it would happen to me, especially here."



Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

Vaccination opponents go viral in communities battling measles

In a suburban shopping center an hour north of New York City, hundreds of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered in a sex-partitioned ballroom to hear leaders of the national anti-vaccine movement.

Complexity of Connecticut highway toll bill could delay vote

Connecticut lawmakers may vote on tolls in a special legislative session as they try to craft a complicated toll bill

Great white shark detected deep in Long Island Sound

An organization that electronically tracks ocean life has detected a nearly 10-foot long great white shark in Long Island Sound

Feds offer $5,000 reward for information in New Haven mosque arson

A $5,000 reward has been announced for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set fire to a Connecticut mosque